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Survey Finds Inadequate Governance In Armenia


Armenia -- A view of the center of Yerevan against the backdrop of Mount Ararat.

Armenia -- A view of the center of Yerevan against the backdrop of Mount Ararat.

Armenia is still governed worse than most countries of the world despite achieving greater political stability and improving its business environment in recent years, according to a global survey released on Tuesday.

Experts from the World Bank and the U.S. Brookings Institution have assessed the quality of governance around the world on a virtually annual basis since 1996. Their latest Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) rate 221 countries and territories on six dimensions, including government accountability, rule of law and corruption.

The survey, which in turn is based on research data from two dozen international sources, shows that by and large Armenia continues to lag behind the majority of the other nations. Still, it was found to have improved its indicators in four areas both in the last few years and the past decade as a whole.

Armenia was assigned the highest scores in the Government Effectiveness and Regulatory Quality categories. The latter category is defined by the survey authors as “the ability of the government to provide sound policies and regulations that enable and promote private sector development.”

A problematic business environment has long been seen as one of the main factors hampering the country’s economic development. The World Bank and other Western donors have for years pressed successive governments in Yerevan to create a level playing field and ensure fair competition for all businesses.

According to the WGI study, Armenia now boasts a higher “regulatory quality” than nearly two thirds of the countries surveyed. However, the current state of rule of law and the scale of government corruption there were rated far less favorably.

The study suggested at the same time that corruption somewhat decreased between 2007 and 2008. Local anti-graft watchdogs are certain to dispute this assertion.

The WGI authors also believe that in 2008 Armenia compared more favorably against the rest of the world than in the previous years in terms of political stability and “absence of violence.” That despite the worst street violence in the country’s history sparked by the disputed February 2008 presidential election.

The only category where Armenia was judged to have regressed since 1998 is Voice and Accountability. It gauges “the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, association, and the press.”
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